Monday, June 14, 2010

About the World Cup...

There's something about tens of thousands of morons simultaneously blowing horns that produce a sonorous, droning sound that makes it all unwatchable. It also reminds you of those aren't-the-Aborigines-awesome multi-culti segments of the Crocodile Dundee movies, where Paul Hogan gets to make authentic Outback noises with all sorts of Abo gee-gaws that set your teeth on edge.

I played soccer in my youth and found it a pretty decent pastime -- at least the way it's played in America, which is to say, with zip and an ebb-and-flow of attack and defense, and so I have the experience to discern that the International game lacks the same pace you'd find in your local grade school match. It's typically 80 minutes of passing for position, 10 minutes of real action, with another half-hour of grown men grabbing their ankles, writhing on the ground and vying for an Academy Award -- only to pop back up and get into play just as the stretcher and medical team arrive.

I've played ice hockey for many years, and I have never seen a stretcher come out so often as it does during an international soccer match. Hockey is a sport where the players are basically given weapons as part of their basic equipment, and are allowed to throw punches at each other, and rarely do you see a stretcher. If one comes out, someone's unconscious or suffering an actual injury that might involve paralysis. Professional soccer players are obviously great, big pussies.

Anyways, the combination of pussy players, lack of continuous action, and thousands of idiots with the most annoying horns ever devised by man have made what little enjoyment can be garnered from the World Cup hardly worth the effort of sitting through it all. I'm sitting here, not much of a baseball fan anymore (millionaires going on strike and taking drugs pretty much did it for me), certainly no fan of the NBA (little more than highly-paid thugs in shorts. If most didn't play basketball, they'd probably be in prison), and I most definitely WILL NOT watch 50 rednecks drive 200 miles at high-speed, making only left turns, just in anticipation of the accidents.

Golf is not a sport. Sports do not involve carts, or someone else to carry your equipment for you. They should also have some form of defense in them to be considered a sport. Tennis is even gayer than international soccer. There's been more bass fishing on TV than I can ever remember, which means there must be a lot of people with too much free time, a lack of braincells, and a ton of disposable income out there, even in this bad economy.

So far as I'm concerned, there's no sports to watch at all until the Jets start playing real games (and even then, I'm a casual, not a die-hard, fan), and hockey season returns.

If you intend to sell International Soccer to Americans as an alternative to those jonesing for real sports during this in-between time in the major American ones, this World Cup will not help you to do it. Hey, I even have a history with soccer, and I can't stand watching this. It's even worse to have to listen to it. Why is it that wherever there's large masses of piss-poor people, they seem only able to occupy themselves with the most annoying -- and noisiest -- of things? I've seen it at other World Cups, too; cowbells, fireworks, mariachi bands, masses of Germans building pyramids and chanting slogans that make you want to start looking for the torch-lit parade somewhere (not that Germans are poor; just clueless about how stupid they look when they do these things).

I'm not certain you'll ever sell soccer in this country until the demographics change, anyway -- which might be any day now, thanks to the unchecked flood of South and Central Americans entering the country without being shot at at least once. There's another reason to close the borders: who the hell wants to contemplate a future in which soccer becomes a major sport in this country?

My most vivid memory of annoying soccer fans with their penchant for repetitive and mind-numbing noise, comes from the Intercity Rail Station in Watford, England, a suburb of London.
There was to be some"important" match played at Webley Stadium (I think one of the teams was Chelsea, but I'm not certain), and the station was packed with the full panoply of morons these sorts of events attract: the drunks, the gap-toothed-slack-jawed-crowd-followers, the flare-throwers, the idiot who has dyed his hair (even his pubes!) in his team colors, the douchebag who had his infant son tattooed with the team Coat-of-Arms. The Auxillary soon follows in their wake: the gum-snapping-beer-guzzling-muffin-topped slatterns who follow the yobbos (as they're called in England), and who came along on the remote possibility that one of the players will be impressed with their nipple rings and lack of a gag reflex enough to make their "Footballer's Wives" fantasy come true.

The chanting. The horn blowing. The yelling. The Public Urination. It makes you wonder just how it was that the British Empire conquered three-quarters of the globe, if this is it's genetic legacy. If memory serves, the game ended in a 0-0 (or, nil-nil, as they say) draw, yet somehow, someone still won...something...and people were out dancing -- drunk, of course -- in the streets.

The commentators on television that evening took great pains to point out that one team actually DID Play for a tie, not needing a win for some reason or another. That's another problem with soccer: once you get past the lack of action, the brain-dead fanatics and the players who take dives if you breathe on them, you get a "strategy" of playing for a tie, which is too European for most Americans to accept. Not to mention the reports of all the people knifed or disfigured by razor blades for simply having a different team affiliation than one's own (I believe the term is "Chelsea Smile").

I also remember the European Cup final in Barcelona in 2000. I was on vacation in Barcelona at that time, and my hotel on the Rambles just happened to be the gathering point for the Manchester, Munich and Barcelona soccer fans who spent a solid week gathering under my balcony at all hours of the night to bang drums, blow horns, sing, chant, and break bottles. For hours on end, and way into the wee hours. The really sad part? The "Big game" was between Manchester and Munich -- the Spanish fans didn't need to be holding these impromptu parades, except as "host country" they were somehow entitled to make as big a bunch of assholes out of themselves as the English and Germans, I guess. Fights were common between rival "gangs" of fans. Anyways, I'm told it was one of the greatest matches, ever, despite the fact that there was a double overtime and penalty kicks, --which means that one side actually won the game at some earlier point, but the other side had to be given two chances to tie it up again, because Europeans are uncomfortable with "sudden-death" sports, anyway.

Consider it the sports version of the legacy of the Treaty of Versailles; victory should never be THAT absolute.

When that game was finally played, I was -- thankfully -- already in Palma de Majorca...and catching up on my sleep.

Anyway, this is what international soccer usually entails: assholes given license to behave badly, large, unruly crowds sold the most annoying noisemakers you can imagine, drunken brawls, drunken promenades, a thick residue of prostitutes, riots, nationalistic feelings stirred up -- often to the point of violence -- and in the end, someone has adopted the strategy of "playing not to lose" that makes an already-boring spectacle down-right coma-inducing. The horns just put you to sleep that much faster.

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